Belfast Telegraph

England role could prove 'too difficult' for Redknapp

By Paul Hirst

Harry Redknapp says he is "not sure" whether he wants to take the England job and admits it would be "difficult" to make the transition from club to international manager.

Redknapp is the overwhelming favourite to fill the vacant England manager's job following the resignation of Fabio Capello.

The Tottenham manager has spent the last month dealing with questions about the position, and a number of high-profile managers and players from within English football have backed the 65-year-old to succeed Capello.

Redknapp has blown hot and cold when asked about the job, admitting it is the "ultimate" position for any English manager while also conceding it would be hard to leave Spurs after three and a half years of success.

"I'm not sure," Redknapp said in an interview with the French newspaper L'Equipe when asked if he would like to manage England. I have a very good job at Tottenham today and I like it. But I do not know. We will wait and see."

At 65 years old, Redknapp would be forgiven for wanting to give up his daily gruelling routine of driving 125 miles to Tottenham's training ground, but he says his life at the London club is blissful and admits the challenges facing an international manager are totally different to those at club level.

"When you have a club, you are looking for a striker and you take them. When you're coach, you must [make] do with the players you have in your country," he added. "If you do not have a good scorer, you have none. And you almost never see the players: it is very difficult."

The Football Association has said it will wait until the "back end" of this season before making an approach for its preferred candidate as it is keen not to disrupt the campaign of any domestic manager in charge of a club.

Redknapp is determined to continue with life as normal until the FA comes calling, and has revealed that planning has already started on summer transfer targets.

The Spurs manager has watched the highly rated Lille midfielder Eden Hazard recently and has revealed that the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, is determined to sign the Belgian.

"Our chairman is willing to pay for an exceptional talent like Eden Hazard," Redknapp said. "I have seen him several times recently at Marseilles, and I also saw him in the French cup final last year.

"But I know that Manchester United and Manchester City are watching him so it will be difficult to get him. But I like him a lot."

After three successive defeats, Redknapp now faces the worrying prospect of seeing Spurs slip out of the race for Champions League football next season despite looking certain of a Premier League top four spot at the turn of the year.

Arsenal were attempting to close within one point of Spurs against Newcastle last night, while Chelsea trail by just four points after their 1-0 win over Stoke on Saturday.

Redknapp has also revealed how the former England manager Fabio Capello "got the needle" with him after he questioned his tactics while working as a television pundit.

Redknapp said: "I did an England game at Wembley two years ago and I said 'I can't believe we're playing Steven Gerrard on the left wing'. Fabio got the needle with me because he thought I had criticised him and he didn't like it, but I was only just giving him my opinion."

Redknapp also admitted he had upset current England striker Darren Bent during their time together at Spurs. "You've got to be careful. I once said, 'My old woman could have scored that', about a goal Darren Bent missed," Redknapp recalled. "Bent then sulked, rang his agent, his agent rings the chairman and says he ain't happy and wants to leave. It was only the truth, wasn't it?

Tomas Rosicky has signed a new contract with Arsenal. Rosicky struggled to make an impact at the start of the season, but has put in a string of excellent performances of late, particularly in last week's 3-0 win over Milan, and has been rewarded with a new contract. "It's a great honour to sign a new deal with Arsenal, I love the club and am proud to wear the Arsenal shirt," Rosicky said.

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